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NO SUNSHINE IN SPARKS' LOSS AT HOME SACRAMENTO 69, SPARKS 60.



Byline: Joe Stevens Staff Writer

The Sparks' frustration mounted in a way its offense never could Saturday night. It got so bad, DeLisha Milton, who is nicknamed ``Sunshine,'' received consecutive technical fouls in the closing seconds and was ejected.

After all the frustration, the Sparks found themselves stewing in their dressing room with a 69-60 loss to the Sacramento Monarchs The Sacramento Monarchs is a Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) team based in Sacramento, California. The team is one of the WNBA's eight original franchises and was noted early on for standout players Ticha Penicheiro, Ruthie Bolton and Yolanda Griffith.  in front of 10,102 at Staples Center This articlearticle or section has multiple issues:
* Its neutrality is disputed.
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.

Even though it was just one loss in a 34-game season and even though the Sparks (12-3) still have the league's best record, their dressing room was full of sad faces. The prevailing theme, or excuse, the players offered for their lackluster play was that the three-game trip that finished Tuesday haunted them.

``Some of us are weak with our legs from all the travel,'' Milton said. ``We were shooting up airballs everywhere, or at least I was, and that's just not how we are. We were making their players look like all-stars.''

The Sparks came to life to start the second half. They trailed 24-21 at halftime, but started the second half with energy and poise, taking a 30-28 lead with 17:50 to play.

The Sparks also had the lead at 33-31 with 16:01 left, but their energy and poise didn't last long. Sacramento had the lead the rest of the game and was in control until the end.

No, the Sparks were not blown out by the Monarchs (6-8). They inched their way to 62-58 with 3:13 left, but they never did have a serious chance to win.

After a three-game winning streak Noun 1. winning streak - a streak of wins
streak, run - an unbroken series of events; "had a streak of bad luck"; "Nicklaus had a run of birdies"
 on the road, they lost a second consecutive home game, contributing to the ongoing 2003 storyline that the Sparks struggle at home but not on the road.

``At home, we have a lot of distractions,'' Milton said. ``We have friends and family, errands to run. Maybe we have to make it at home like it is on the road with no distractions.''

Tamecka Dixon had 20 points on 8 of 14 shooting for the Sparks. Lisa Leslie
    Lisa Leslie (born July 7, 1972 in Gardena, California) is a Women's National Basketball Association player currently playing for the Los Angeles Sparks. One of the original WNBA players, she quickly rose to stardom as one of the league's most top-performing and popular
     added 16 points and seven rebounds, and Milton had 13 points and nine rebounds.

    Though Leslie's statistics looked fine, she was outplayed by Sacramento's Yolanda Griffith Yolanda Evette Griffith (born March 1, 1970 in Chicago, Illinois) is an American professional basketball player currently playing for the Sacramento Monarchs of the WNBA. She is sometimes called by her nicknames: "Yo" and "Yo-Yo". , who had 24 points and 10 rebounds. Edna Campbell Edna Campbell (born November 26, 1968 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.) is a retired women's basketball player who played in the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA).  added 11 points for the Monarchs.

    ``I just think we all felt a little bit tired,'' Leslie said. ``This was not a normal performance for us. It might be just one loss. But we set high standards for ourselves, and we don't like to lose.''

    The frustrations were such that Michael Cooper
      Michael Jerome Cooper (born April 15 1956 in Los Angeles, California) is currently the head coach of the Women's National Basketball Association's Los Angeles Sparks.
       did not address the media after the game. That was a first for the Sparks coach.

      Even Dixon, who had a strong night, was upset with the outcome.

      ``I just tried to give what I have and be aggressive,'' Dixon said. ``But we still lost, so I don't think what you do individually makes a difference when that happens.

      --Notes: Mwadi Mabika Mwadi Mabika (born July 27, 1976 in Kinshasa, Zaire (present Democratic Republic of the Congo)) is a Congolese basketball player and an All-Star in the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA).

      She studied biology and chemistry at the Massamba School in Kinshasa.
       missed Saturday night's game with a sore right knee. She is considered day to day.

      CAPTION(S):

      photo

      Photo:

      Jennifer Gillom Jennifer Gillom (born June 13, 1964 in Abbeville, Mississippi) is a former WNBA basketball player who played for the Phoenix Mercury from 1997 to 2002.

      Gillom played college basketball in the University of Mississippi and helped the United States Basketball Team to a gold
       and the Sparks just didn't have it Saturday in a defeat to the Monarchs at Staples Center, where L.A. has lost back-to-back games.

      Edna T. Simpson/Daily News
      COPYRIGHT 2003 Daily News
      No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
      Copyright 2003, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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      Article Details
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      Title Annotation:Sports
      Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
      Date:Jun 29, 2003
      Words:542
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